KENT CO., Mich. — Residents are coming home to a potential laundry list of issues as power is restored to the area.
All residents impacted by the recent power outages are encouraged to exercise caution and throw food out if there is any question about how fresh it may be.
While a fully packed freezer can hold its temperature for up to 48 hours, foods exposed to 40 degree temps or higher for more than 2 hours should be disposed of.
The growth of bacteria and mold can cause major health issues, especially for young children and the elderly as their immune systems tend to be less able to fight off infections or they may not have the ability to communicate that something is wrong.
Frozen water pipes can be an annoyance, but safety officials warn residents to not use open flames, torches, or welding equipment to thaw them. These methods increase the risk of fire in the home and should be avoided. Do not leave an unattended space heater aimed at the pipes.
The best course of action is to open cabinets to use the ambient heat in the home get at the pipes in the walls. On a nice sunny day like today, opening curtains can let in sunlight to help expedite the process.
Hair dryers in their highest setting can be aimed at accessible frozen areas, as long as they are used from above and away from the pipe to avoid dripping water and potential electrocution.
Residents whose pipes have burst, or are frozen and proving too much of an issue to thaw, should call a qualified plumber.
Emergency Management staff has been monitoring levels of the Grand River, keeping an eye out for potential flood conditions. Minor flooding has happened in the Comstock Park area; however, these conditions are fairly consistent with past thaws.
Aerial surveillance along the Grand River from Portland to Ottawa County is being provided by the Michigan State Police Aviation Unit, aided by a hydrologist from the National Weather Service to keep an eye on any potentially hazardous situations.
Kent County Emergency Management would like to underline that erring on the side of caution is the best course of action when cleaning up after storm or inclement conditions.